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Governor Parnell Supports Alpine Development, Requests Corps Reconsider Permit Denial


March 5, 2010, Anchorage, Alaska – Governor Sean Parnell has requested that the U.S. Corps of Engineers re-evaluate its denial of ConocoPhillips’ permit to construct a drill pad known as CD-5 in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. The governor contends the Corps did not follow its permit processes. Instead of being denied, the permit application should have been referred to division engineers for resolution.

Governor Parnell, in a letter to the Corps of Engineers, wrote:

“33 C.F.R. § 325.8(b)(2) requires district engineers to refer a decision to issue or deny permits to the division engineer for resolution when the recommended decision is contrary to the written position of the Governor of the state in which the work will be performed. The work for which ConocoPhillips requested a permit would have taken place in Alaska.

“I made my support for the permit clear to the district through a July 10, 2009 letter, by my Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources (enclosed). Further, I met with you personally on December 1, 2009 to reiterate my strong support for the permit. Finally, a January 22, 2010 article in the Alaska Journal of Commerce, issued less than two weeks before the decision, contains my statements expressing support for the permit. It was impossible, therefore, for the division to be unaware that its recommendation was contrary to my position. It erred in failing to refer the permit application to the division engineer.”

The governor also stated that in determining whether to re-evaluate its decision denying the permit, the Corps should consider the strong local, state and national interests in creating jobs for Alaska families and reducing the nation’s dependence on foreign oil and gas. 

The project represents roughly 5 million barrels of domestic oil production a year, 400 construction jobs, 100 operating jobs, and an infrastructure line that would likely lead to more exploration and development in the NPR-A.

A copy of the entire letter is available at: http://gov.alaska.gov/parnell_media/documents/gov_ColonelKoenig.pdf

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